Nothing says have a yo-ho-ho happy holiday like a few good men in striped shirts. This year to celebrate the spirit of the holidays, Alberta Theatre Projects has decided to put on a classic Christmas tale, Treasure Island, based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. That's right, instead of fat ol' St. Nick bringing booty to all the children in the land, pirates will be here, raping and pillaging!
"It is a Christmas play," insists Valerie Planche who plays Mrs. Hawkins and Meg Morgan, a female pirate. "I remember watching three Christmas movies when I was a kid. It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and the classic version of Treasure Island, which was always on Christmas Day."
Maybe it is a time for a change in holiday fare. Most people need more than every digit and limb on their body to count the number of times they've heard "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings!" or "Bah, humbug!" during the holiday season. With ATP's wise choice, the actors will no longer have to fight over the role of Tiny Tim, Bob, the Mrs. or any other one of the Cratchits.
"Oh my God, I've played every female part [in A Christmas Carol] except for the children," remarks Planche. Playing a pirate based on Mary Reed and Anne Bonny, two famous female buccaneers, is quite a change from playing kind little Mrs. Cratchit. You wouldn't see her driving a cutlass through some scallywag.
Despite the obvious violent elements associated with the very nature of the play, this is still a great show for families.
"It's all staged violence," notes Planche, "there is no blood. The story focuses on a boy who's smarter than every other character in the play. It's all about over coming adversity."
So, strap on your eye patches, re-finish your peg legs--the new colour for this Christmas season is gold, gold and more gold! Bring your women and children out to ATPïž´S Treasure Island, or may the sea swallow you whole!